And on the seventh day they shopped

by Kim on April 18, 2012 · 44 comments

We’re loading up on travel gear

This past weekend Brian and I spent a barf-worthy amount of money on items for our trip. Our travel savings took a pretty significant hit.  The upside?  We have a bunch of new toys that I will thoroughly enjoy just as soon as I get over the shock of my credit card bill.  (A note about credit cards: When we were working our way out of debt we did not use credit cards.  Now, we use our Capitol One Venture Rewards Card to earn air miles.  We pay it off in full at the end of each month).

We chose the Capitol One Venture Card because there are no foreign transaction fees and we earn two miles for every dollar

You might be thinking: Wait, aren’t they trying to get rid of their stuff?  Trust me, I’m wondering the same thing.  While I do not believe that anyone needs new SPF rated clothes and quick drying underwear to travel around the world, I fell victim to the magnetic pull of REI (again) while the siren song of Best Buy seduced Brian inside her doors.

A preview of our new stuff

Canon PowerShot S100

Brian has a DSLR camera but I wanted a point and shoot that takes professional grade photos and is compact enough to fit in my pocket.  After much research, I settled on the Canon PowerShot S100. It gets great reviews and is touted by many professional photographers as the best point and shoot out there.  I’m so excited to start using this baby.

Apple MacBook Air

Oh, yes we did!  We’re the proud new owners of an 11-inch MacBook air. This computer is small, light, pretty, and fits in my Pacsafe purse. The built-in features and photo editing applications make this purchase worth it, in my book.

New clothes

This Kaylee Dress by REI is comfortable, cute and lightweight.  Add to it a touring skirt, a wicking, fast-drying shirt, travel pants, two bathing suits and some uber-expensive-but-apparently-worth-it quick drying underwear and I’ve got a brand new wardrobe.



Brian and Kim in the buff(s)

Brian and I each bought a Buff to use when we backpack the Grand Canyon rim to rim.  Buffs are like bandannas on steroids and can be worn a dozen different ways.  They’ll keep the sun off of us when we backpack the U.S. southwest at the height of summer and will keep the wind from biting when we trek in the Tetons and South America (and beyond).  These puppies also double as headbands which will be useful as I limp through the awkward stages of growing out my hair.

 The Diva Cup

After boatloads of encouragement from travelers and already-converted friends I finally made the switch to the Diva Cup. The Diva Cup is a hospital-grade silicone cup used in place of tampons or menstrual pads. It takes a little getting used to (not much!) but I love that I won’t have to worry about lugging tampons all over the world.

Other new additions include…

An external hard drive for backing up our photos and documents, silk sleep sacks for those questionable beds we’ll be crashing in, Smartwool socks, a SteriPEN for backpacking in the U.S. (we may also take this abroad), and extra memory cards for the cameras.

Next up

A trial packing run in which we most likely learn that we’re taking way too much stuff.

Packing will be slightly tricky for us since we have one pile of items that we’ll only be using on our U.S. road trip (tent, sleeping bags, ground pads, etc.), one pile of items that we’ll only be using internationally (sleep sacks, medications) and one pile of items that we’ll be using both domestically and internationally (some clothing, hiking shoes, electronics, etc.).

For the record, the packs we’ll be using are the Osprey Porter 65 Litre Backpack (Kim) and the Osprey Exos 46-Liter Pack (Brian).  Yes, you can fit a middle-schooler in my pack.  Yes, I’ll probably regret it.

I’m not sure how to end this post except to say that we leave Oregon to start this adventure in 33 days!



{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

RenegadePilgrim April 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I LOVE the Diva Cup. Bought mine for my RTW trip in 2010 and I loved it so much, I never went back to my old ways.


Lauren April 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm

This post makes me want to shop! I met a couple in Mongolia traveling with a MacBook Air – they loved it. Makes my little MacBook look clunky by comparison!

Definitely worth it. Cute dress, too!


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I definitely think it will be worth it- it is so small and light!


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I’m already loving it as well. I feel very free not having to worry about tampons!


Dustin April 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I am probably going to right the longest comment ever, but since y’all are in our same boat your the best people I know to bounce questions these off of.

Mine are mostly directed at Brian, but I am sure EmSue has plenty of jealously loathing for Kim’s purse.

I have a 57L pack and barely got everything in it, since I now know Brian is into DSLR’s as well I am eager to hear his review of the S100. I decided the Canon S100 is the best Point & Shoot out there, but the other day Fry’s Electronics had a steal on it’s competitor; the Nikon P300 (last year’s model of the P310 but no real differences). I bought it, did some comparison shot’s to my DSLR and our older Canon 790IS and decided it wasn’t worth the money; but I would love to leave the DSLR behind.

So the questions for Brian are: ready to leave the DSLR behind for the S100? If you are still taking the DSLR how are you fitting into your 46L pack and how many lenses are you taking?

I picked up the REI “deal of the day” today for the REI 45L pack, but waiting to get it to see how it all fits and what I can leave behind. Sorry for the longest comment ever 🙂


Brian April 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm


What little I have played with the S100, it is a fantastic camera. The “click to pic” speeds are fast, and the images are sharp. It looks like a great camera.

Regarding the dSLR, I am torn on whether or not to take it. It has a fixed lense, so I only have one option. The pictures it takes are fantastic, but the S100 might be good enough to get by. Either way, if the dSLR goes with us, due to the bulkiness, it will only go out to places where I know we will want some better pictures, more iso adjustments, different exposures, etc. It hasn’t made it to the point of “if there is room, I will take it”, if that provides any help.

Sorry I don’t know anything about the Nikon you picked up. I hope you enjoy it!


Sara April 18, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Love to see that you got the buff! I do not have one, but when I think of a true adventurer, I think of the buff.


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Hahahaha. Yes, it’s the mark of a true adventurer 🙂


For 91 Days Travel Blog April 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm

The Venture Card is the best. We got ours when we started to travel and raked up 450 bucks in points yet.

An other great tip .. in Bolivia for example we could use that card to get cash out. The banks would charge a small fee but all worth it (points!) and much cheaper than using ATMs.


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Definitely good to know. Did you go with a bank that had no ATM fees? We switched banks to Charles Schwab because it has no international ATM fees.


Viviana April 19, 2012 at 12:43 am

Hi, I’ve been reading your blog and FaceBook updates for a little while now, but this is the first time I comment..So first of all thanks a lot for sharing all this interesting info! In a few months I’ll be the same boat or you can bet I’m an eager reader of your blog!
Now, one question to to Kim, if I may: I have been considering swtiching over to the DivaCup for travelling, but my biggest concern is: what about using it in places where tap water is not safe? Please do direct me to some link, if you want! Thanks in advance!
And maybe I’ll see you on the road somewhere! 🙂


Bethany ~ twoOregonians April 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Hey Viviana, I’ve been using mine abroad (in places with questionable water), and so far so good! Maybe TMI, but I’ve been fine disinfecting it with soap and hot shower water and using tissue to clean it from time to time if clean water isn’t available. I feel like the risk is less than with the toxins in tampons ( There’s a helpful discussion here, too:

Good luck!

P.S. Yay, Kim! You’ve got a great gear setup. Can’t wait to hear how you like your new MacBook Air : )


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Yay, thanks for replying to this as I’ve actually been wondering the same thing.


Dr. AK April 19, 2012 at 2:21 am

Hi Kim & Brian, I’m getting excited just seeing your shopping trip! I can’t wait till we get to do ours, but that won’t be for another couple of years.

If you fancy Scotland at any time, please come and stay with us in Edinburgh 🙂


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Thank you!!! If we end up in Scotland I will let you know- we won’t turn down a free bed (or couch, or floor for that matter). One piece of advice: if you know you’ll be making a bunch of expensive purchases I recommend spreading them out! We’re doing them all at once and it is PAINFUL.


Patricia GW April 19, 2012 at 7:30 am

Hi Kim & Brian, I love the products you guys picked out! I have quite a few of these on my own shopping list. What did you look for when you decided on the Canon S100? Just about a month to go, and then you’ll realize your dreams 🙂 How are you doing to overcome the clash of planning and procrastination?


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Hi Patricia! Three weeks of work left… it is getting more real every day!!!! Still procrastinating a bit, but it’s getting better 🙂

I looked for a camera that took beautiful, clear shots and had great settings for, for example, night time shots. When I started researching them S100 hands down stood out above the rest.


Carmel April 19, 2012 at 7:40 am

We came VERY close to getting a Macbook Air when I got Shawn his for his birthday last year. But looking at the reasons he needed it for 2 years BEFORE travelling and the fact that the Macbook didn’t weight THAT much more than the Air, we decided on the regular one. I don’t regret it, although I feel like I will once we’re on the road. At least we have the iPad. That’s light.

I looked at that exact same dress I’ll have you know. Let me know how you end up liking the camera as that is one of the few items in our big purchases column. We’re not taking any fancy cameras, but I want a quality point and shoot.

Ooh, and if you forgot anything, let me know since I have access to the Columbia and Adidas employee stores this month 🙂


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Ohhh… love those discounts. I’m considering picking up another pair of running shorts (since I just have one…).

I’ll let you know about the camera. So far I LOVE it. The quality of the photos is amazing.


Ashlee April 19, 2012 at 7:50 am

So happy to hear about the MacBook purchase! My roommate and I just had a discussion over dinner whether you would continue to post while you’re on the road and how cumbersome it would be to bring a laptop along so maybe not (I bet it’s still weird to consider that random people discuss your life over dinner!). The thought of our adventure with you ending as soon as your real adventure begins made us sad. Clearly this blog has become something we look forward to reading each week. 🙂


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Haha, I love it 🙂

Yes, I will definitely be posting from the road. In fact, I might be posting more since I’ll finally have TIME (sweet time) to write. Yayayaya!!!

I’m so glad you look forward to reading the blog. It has been beyond wonderful sharing this journey with all of you 🙂


Dana - Our Wanderlust April 19, 2012 at 8:03 am

I can’t believe it’s coming up so quickly! Great stuff – buying after getting rid of so much stuff does feel odd… but the Macbook 11″ is a great buy ~ we love ours {so tiny and easy to bring around/use/fall in love with/skype home…}Cheers!


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Yes, it seems perfect. Facetime is fun to have too- for other Mac users. Cheers to you!


Alexandra April 19, 2012 at 8:09 am

I’ve loved your blog so far and can’t wait to hear about the trip as it commences! The Diva Cup is fantastic. I was told about it in college and have used one for about the past 5 years, its so much easier and I’ll never use tampons again! I am also curious to hear how the S100 works, because I love DSLR cameras, but have always worried about taking it on a long trip, so I’ve always tried to bring a good point and shoot, but that has backfired at times. And your backpacks too look awesome! Oy I’m so excited for you guys!


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Thank you! We are so so sooooo excited!!! I will let everyone know how the S100 works. It is supposed to be a sunny weekend in Portland this weekend and I hope to get out and test the camera out. So far I LOVE it. Lovin’ the Diva Cup too. No buyers remorse on anything yet!


Maddie April 19, 2012 at 9:20 am

Excellent shopping skills! The REI website looks like a credit card black hole I could definitely get on board with!


Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Beware!!! Seriously. I could spend my whole paycheck at REI. When Brian and I got married we had our gift registry at REI!


Miel Hendrickson April 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Having traveled the world I would say that you do want quick dry underwear (though in fairness I only bought my first set several years ago), essential for exercise and in Vietnam I changed my underwear three times a day. One for working out in the morning and another change at lunch!

I had never bought spf clothing either, but having dealt with melanoma for the last year, I have plenty of it now.

I’m not a fan of the diva cup myself, but have been using reusable pads for the last 15 years.

I highly recommend that you add to your list to go to the drug store immediately and by earplugs, the brand is Hearos, get the nude colored kind with at least a dozen pairs. You will thank me! They block out all noise and are magic on a plane. Plus, of course, you need an eye mask as well for the same reason. You won’t regret it!

Good luck!



Kim April 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Miel, thanks for your tips as always. I added the Hearos earplugs and the eye mask to my shopping list, but then Brian pointed out that we could use our buffs as eye masks. Going to pick up those earplugs this weekend!


Pamela April 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Leaving so soon. Congrats. I completely understand the magnetic pull of REI. I had the same problem today at the grand opening of Cabelas in Marysville, WA.


Kim April 20, 2012 at 9:13 am

Both very, very dangerous places to take the wallet.


Jamie April 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Kim, i am rolling on the floor over here about your quick drying underwear 🙂 I mean, i see the appeal, but still!!!


Kim April 21, 2012 at 9:21 am

They better work- they aren’t cheap!


Jamie April 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm

i bet!!!!


Torre – Fearful Adventurer April 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I love buffs. I adore my Macbook Air. I’ve never heard of the Divacup, but I just looked it up and have to say I was a little startled by this news: “Model 2: For women over 30 years old and/or for women who have delivered vaginally or by caesarean section.” — so, my box is the same size as one that has pushed out babies? You just ruined my morning, Kim. 🙂


Kim April 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Torre, imagine how I felt when I had to choose model 2. The shame!! Me and my old, stretched out vag really felt sorry for ourselves.


Traveling Ted April 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Thanks for the camera tip. I am about to point and click my camera into the lake. I may need a new one soon.


Kim April 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Ha, that’s how I felt about my old camera. I love this one- highly recommended!


Katia May 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

Congrats!! I´m just a week ahead!!!!!!!
I´ve bought teh underwears too 🙂
Tell me, wich silk sleep sack did you bought? Does it have a lateral opening??


Kim May 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Hi Katia,

Congrats on your departure- it’s so soon!!!

We have the brand Grand Trunk and it has a top/side opening. I haven’t used it yet so I can’t speak to how good/bad it is.


Tawny- Captain and Clark May 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I never thought I’d be discussing my tampon problems on a public forum, but I am definitely intrigued with the Diva Cup. Seeing how so many women have switched over (traveling or not) has definitely got me thinking.

We’re also about to purchase a new laptop and can’t decide whether the macbook pro or the macbook air would be better. The air is lighter, but it makes me so nervous that it IS so thin and… delicate.


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